Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Day-Lewis’

“There Will Be Blood”: Jack Torrence is “Shining” Through

February 19, 2008

There Will Be Blood Oil

While “There Will Be Blood” hasn’t been a box office stud it’s being called a movie that will never be forgotten, which it may become, whether anyone has seen it or not.

The ShiningThe people that do never see it will think that it has something to do with milkshakes and bowling pins. Of course those that never saw The Shining will always remember that movie being something about an axe and Johnny Carson. It’s no surprise to me that Blood has entered into the public consciousness as The Shining did, as through my eyes I can confidently say that the former has influenced the latter exponentially.

Aside from quotable lines some of the other similarities include a larger than life performance by a highly regarded actor; performances that while the films were still fresh people complained they were perhaps too exaggerated. Then there’s the unsettling Bowling Pinwide shots and long takes with drawn out silences and the post modern music that heightens the tension; some incidental moments are even by the same composer. When P.T. Anderson claimed his movie was more like a horror film in last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly it’s obvious he wasn’t lying.

It’s one of the things I love about Blood. Its willingness to really let loose and unhinge itself from anything human. These character’s represent the worst of their kinds.

Over at Jim Emerson’s Scanners (“Biggest Acting, Best and Worst; Over the Top, Ma!”) there’s talk about over acting and when it’s applicable and when it isn’t. (He also makes comparisons to The Shining.) I responded to the article with this: “If there’s a level of truth in the performance, and when I say truth, I mean emotional truth, then as far as I’m concerned the actor can be as over the top as he wants.” In some instances it’s left up to the viewer to find that truth. It doesn’t help if the creator of the films cheats…will come back to this. Being truthful and unlikable are two different things. Truth can sometimes be even more poignant when the character isn’t likable in the least.

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The Awards Season Has Begun or Has Anyone Seen These Movies?, Part 1

January 4, 2008

There WIll Be BloodThere’s a conundrum this year within the awards ceremony realm and that is There Will Be Blood. It’s a big, bold film detailing the outer rise of an oil man Daniel Plainview and his inner fall as a man. It’s a film that’s been nominated for numerous Golden Globe Awards, and has now been nominated for SAG Awards, and will surely be nominated for an Oscar or two. And it certainly deserves to be. I go into extensive detail in my review.

The bewildering thing isn’t that the movie doesn’t deserve these nominations, it’s that no one has seen it. Even before it’s limited release it was nominated for the Globes. Now in limited release it’s up for SAG awards. It’s definitely helped its financial take generating curious spectators to see the film. In 2 theatres over the New Years Holiday weekend it made $302,845 (as reported by boxofficemojo.com). I was lucky enough to find a seat in one of those theatres and it was playing on two screens!

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“There Will Be Blood”: How High Are Your Expectations?

January 4, 2008

There WIll Be Blood

With wunderkind writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm of a movie there are certain levels of expectation to be met. With one of our finest method actors Daniel Day-Lewis in the same movie the expectations are that much higher. Even without those two elements with a title like There Will Be Blood expectations are already set high. There has to be blood spilled. Now with the existing creative team the expectation is that when that blood is spilled it should mean something, or have some level of effect on us. An impact, be it anti-climactic or Rober DeNiro with his head hanging out a car screaming bloody murder climactic (I think Robin Williams said that in his stand up — I just quoted Robin WIlliams.) When I left the theatre this evening, I felt slightly short changed on both accounts.

The first thing I have to speak about, because it sets the tone for all things to come in Blood, is the music by composer Jonny Greenwood who composed that lush score for Children of Me. (This is incorrect and has been amended in the comment section below.) In Men there’s a moment when the characters are heading through the prison camp to get to the boat that will get them to their final destination, but first there’s an empty shot of a tunnel. Just as that image comes up, before the characters enter frame, we’re met with a collision of stringed instruments that tell you things aren’t going to go as planned. The very first shot of Blood has that same beautiful car wreck of unnerving symphonic wonderment. It gives everything in its path an unhinged and terrifying soul. We don’t trust the landscape we see. We get a strange feeling about Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), even though he says nothing. The music creates a hypnotic spell as Plainview digs towards the heart of the earth looking for silver, almost as if he were digging towards hell. But when he hits instead oil, it pools like black blood on the surface of that dead landscape. And he’s a wealthy man. Already our expectations have been met, blood has been spilled. But the music itself also builds an expectation, that things no matter how well they go will always carry with them for Plainview (an ironic name if I’ve ever heard one) a misery that will send him spiraling into the worst kind of apathy, digging his way closer to hell. And all this is apparent from that first chord struck. It reminded me in many ways of the use of music in Kubrick’s The Shining.

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